A bill to require girls under 18 to obtain a parent’s consent before having an abortion passed a Florida House committee Tuesday.
The lead sponsor of the bill, Republican state Rep. Erin Grall, said the legislation will protect young women’s health and safety, the Florida Phoenix reports.
“I find it just overwhelmingly tragic that a parent would not have the ability to know whether or not the facility by which their minor daughter goes to obtain an abortion was, in fact, safe,” she said.
Florida currently requires that a parent be notified before a girl under age 18 has an abortion. State House Bill 265 would strengthen these protections by requiring a parent’s consent. It includes exceptions for medical emergencies as well as for situations where there is evidence that the minor may be being abused by a parent.
It passed the House Health and Human Services Committee in a 12-6 vote and now moves to the full state House for consideration, according to the report. Earlier this year, the state House passed a similar bill, but the state Senate did not vote on it.
“I pray that our colleagues in the Senate will take up this issue this year and allow the state of Florida to put parents back into this conversation with their daughters,” Grall said.
CBS 4 Miami reports Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues pointed out the difference between requirements for a minor’s basic medical treatment and the requirements for abortion.
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“What I fail to comprehend is how a child can’t be given an aspirin by another adult without the consent of the parent … but that same child can have a surgery by another adult without the parent even knowing about it,” Rodrigues said.
Democratic lawmakers criticized the bill as an attempt to limit access to abortion, and Kara Gross, a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, slammed it as unconstitutional, the local news reports.
“It is an undue burden on a young woman’s constitutional right to determine for herself whether and when to become a parent,” Gross said. “No child should be forced to have a child against her will. There is no greater governmental intrusion.”
Florida lawmakers previously passed very similar legislation, but abortion activists challenged it and the state Supreme Court struck down the law. However, many believe the new legislation has a greater chance of being upheld now that there are more conservative justices on the state high court.
Parental consent laws help protect the health and safety of minors. They can help young victims of sexual abuse who may be forced or coerced into an abortion by their abuser. The laws also help protect vulnerable teens from making a hasty, uninformed decision to abort their unborn babies – something they may later regret. And research shows that these laws help save unborn babies from abortions.
Parental involvement laws have strong public support, and 37 states currently require it in some form before a minor aborts her unborn baby. This year, however, Illinois, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are considering pro-abortion bills to end their parental involvement laws.
Polls show strong support for parental involvement laws. A Gallup poll found 71 percent of Americans favor laws requiring parents’ involvement in a minor’s abortion decision.